Feminist Data Visualization

Last week, I traveled to Umea, Sweden, to give a talk on feminist data visualization at Umea University’s HUMlab. The abstract for this talk is as follows (slides are below):

humlabData visualization is not a recent innovation. Even in the eighteenth century, economists and educators, as well as artists and illustrators, were fully aware of the inherent subjectivity of visual perception, the culturally-situated position of the viewer, and the power of images in general—and of visualization in particular—to convey arguments and ideas.

In this talk, I examine the history of data visualization in relation to feminist theory, which has also long attended to the subjective nature of knowledge and its transmission. Exploring the visualization work of three female educators from the nineteenth century, Emma Hart Willard, Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps, and Elizabeth Peabody, I show how we might recover these women’s contributions to the development of modern data visualization techniques. I contend, moreover, that by conceiving of data visualization as a feminist method, we might better understand its function—in the nineteenth century and today—as a way to present concepts, advance arguments and perform critique.

Lost in the Stacks

logoLast Friday, January 25th, 2013, I was interviewed on Georgia Tech’s student radio station, WREK 91.1, for an episode of “Lost in the Stacks.” Lost in the Stacks– they claim, and I believe to be true– is the “one and only Research Library Rock’n’Roll radio show.” With Wendy Hagenmaier, of GT Archives, and Charlie Bennett, the show’s producer and host (and also of the GT Library), we discussed the myth of the archive, the issue of archival silence, and the future of the archive in the digital age. We also played a series of archive-related rock songs.

You can listen to an archived stream of the show here and view the show’s playlist here. Most of the songs can also be found on this Spotify playlist. For “Don’t Throw Out Your Books” by Piano Moscow– a song I discovered in my own college radio days— click here.